What drives you? Is it fear of failure that gets you out of bed or the recognition that failure is an opportunity for growth?
Do you challenge yourself habitually, or do you honestly not want to take on “too much” in the way of challenges?
At what point does a challenge cause paralyzing fear for you?
In our incredibly comfortable culture (in the history of the world, no culture has enjoyed as much wealth as we do, here in the US) the lessons in life that afford us natural opportunities to build the muscles of intestinal fortitude and perseverance simply do not present themselves. We pay for trainers to “really kick our butts” realizing that we need to stretch ourselves as human beings. But no longer do we have to walk a few miles for water. No longer do we lay our hand to the plow. On the whole, our kids cannot even be found playing outside, developing the playing skills that would prepare them to persevere later in life.
Add to this lack of natural habituation of these virtues the ability to get anything we want almost immediately. Fast food, shoes arriving same-day, even the thrill of a car chase on our game console… without the possibility of enduring pain or even minor inconvenience, for that matter. We get all of the thrill without any of the sacrifice.
This is what we wanted, though, right? Less pain, more convenience, more control, less responsibility?
But what happens when we dream to achieve something that cannot be obtained immediately? We’ve trained ourselves to not wait for anything AND not built the fortitude to go make it happen. In facing down obstacles, we say to ourselves: “If I were talented, it would happen immediately for me. I guess I’m just not cut out for it.” or “She’s a natural, that’s why she does so well at that. Even if I worked at it I couldn’t do that.”
We have, in the words of Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, a fixed mindset.
Growth mindset people realize that failure is the process by which they grow. Fixed mindset people see failure as an affirmation of their lack of talent. We tend to believe that talented people are that way by nature. Most of these high performers would tell you that they have had to work incredibly hard to get to where they are, that their talents had to be nurtured, and that they began as very average or even low achievers.
Michael Jordan is a classic example of perseverance. Having been cut from his high school squad, he put in the hard work to become the greatest player of all time. He came into the NBA as a dunking showman and exited as the most complete player we may ever see. Other, more naturally talented players of the same era made excuses for their failings. Michael failed, then worked on his weaknesses.
What excuses are holding you back? What fixed mindset (some may also call these limiting beliefs) do you have that keeps you from being excellent or from even attempting something new? Who else are you holding back in your life through a fixed mindset?
The power to persevere – to grit through tough times – is the weapon of men and women who grow and ultimately change society.
What is the opportunity cost of not persevering daily, of not winning the battle to get out of bed, or to get to bed on time?
Or of not exercising?
Or of not planning your week?
Or of not making time to read?
Or of not allowing yourself to be coached?
Of checking your email when you need to stay focused?
Persevere and win at the little things, and massive results will appear.
Patrick Kilner is the CEO of the Kilner Group, based in the DC Metro area. The Kilner Group has represented hundreds of buyers and sellers in a variety of real estate transactions in the past decade. Passionate about forming leaders through the vehicle of real estate, the Kilner Group has tripled in size in the past two years and has begun to expand operations and coaching of agents outside of their home base. A graduate of the Catholic University of America in 2001 and earned his Master’s degree from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain in 2003. Patrick currently resides in Maryland with his wife, Elena, and their five children.